Invitation to a public lecture by Prof Lester Davids

The Royal Society of South Agrifa and the Academy of Science of South Africa invite you to a public lecture by Professor Lester Davids, Department of Medical Biosciences at the University of the Western Cape on “Mirror! Mirror! On the wall…” Reflections on a Decade of Skin Research

Abstract: We scratch it, we wet it, we pull it, we push it, we stretch it and we colour it…we are born with it and it is the only one we have…this is our Skin. The fascination with human skin and its mosaic of colour has continued to perk the interest of biologists, anthropologists, medical researchers, historians, artists and the public at large throughout the centuries. None more so than in South Africa where the colour of skin changed the course of history. This lecture will explore a decade of biological skin research and highlight fascinating topics such as skin cancers and associated disorders, wound healing and the global phenomenon of skin lightening practices.

About the Speaker: Prof Davids is employed in the Department of Medical Biosciences at the University of the Western Cape where he also heads up the newly established BioSkin Laboratory. He completed his under- and postgraduate studies at the University of Cape Town and his PhD was completed in the Department of Medicine in 2003 studying the heme disorder, porphyria. In 2010 he joined the academic staff of the Dept of Human Biology at the University of Cape Town as a junior lecturer and in 2015 was promoted to an Associate Professor before his departure at the end of 2016. At UCT, he established the Redox Laboratory Research Group which used human skin as a core model to study the biology of skin cancers, wound healing in burns and the global human phenomenon of skin lightening practices. Numerous Masters and PhD students have graduated under his mentorship and since 2008 he has published more than 30 peer-reviewed international publications. He has presented his research at national and international conferences including the SA Burns Congress and Dermatology congresses. He has conducted numerous television and radio interviews and been integrally involved in 3 international documentaries on the global phenomenon of skin lightening practices. Prof Davids has numerous national and international collaborators including the US and Europe. He was a member of the SA-Swiss International Bioentrepeneurship team (2013), is a nationally rated scientist and was a recipient of funding through the Technology and Human Resources Innovation Programme (THRIP) for his work on culturing and expanding human skin cells for use in burn wound treatment. He completed his sabbatical as a SA-USA Fulbright Senior Fellow in 2015 where he was hosted in the laboratory of Prof Nina Jablonski at Pennsylvania State University. He currently heads the BioSkin Laboratory at UWC where he continues to be fascinated with the underlying biology of human skin.   

Date:     Wednesday, 21 February 2018

Time:    17h00 (Tea will be served from 16h30)

Place:    South African Astronomical Observatory (SAAO) Auditorium, Observatory Road, Observatory* 

*Directions to SAAO Auditorium : From the N2, turn off to the M57 – Liesbeek Parkway; turning in the direction of Cape Town and continue until the traffic lights with Hartleyvale (hockey and football) on your left. Turn right at traffic lights into Observatory Road, pass the River Club; the S A Astronomical Observatory is next on the left. Once through the security gates bear left following the SALT signs to the auditorium i.e. last building on the left (white with stoep & ramp).                                                                PLEASE DO NOT BLOCK SAAO DRIVEWAYS